For the fifth consecutive time, Apple topped Forbes’ list of world’s most valuable brand with a worth of $145.3 billion, up by 17% from last year. Over the past years, it continues to revolutionise the industry with its innovative products.
But what makes this technology giant the best in their craft? Here are five business lessons from Apple that you can apply to your firm:
You Don’t Need to Be the First, But Be the Best
For Apple, you don’t need to be the first mover to get the advantage; you just have to take an existing idea and make it new. As an example, tablets existed even before the iPad was introduced. But when the first iPad was launched in 2010, – 8 years after the Microsoft Tablet PC was produced – it sold nearly 250 million tablets and created a new market. Then it became thinner and lighter, and soon enough, iPad became synonymous with tablet.
As Apple CEO Tim Cook says, “it’s about getting things right, not getting things first. I like to think it’s about being the best, not being the first.” They don’t need to invent extraordinary things; they re-invent ordinary things instead.
Believe That ‘Less Is More’
What makes Apple always stand out is its minimalism trademark. One of its earliest ads contains a picture of an actual apple with the words “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Even when the late Steve Jobs makes his product introduction, it’s just him in his signature black turtleneck sweater and his slide presentation with few texts. He lets the product tell the story.
Their attention to detail is also insane. Take, for example, the groove on the front lip of MacBooks – it is designed so that it can be opened with just one finger. A more common example is the iPhone – it’s a sleek smartphone with a lone home button that contains all the functions you need. It is user-friendly than other gadgets that keep on adding complex features, making them look cluttered.
Create a Need
As quoted in BusinessWeek in 1998, Jobs said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Apple doesn’t need to conduct market research to create what the customers want; instead, they treat themselves as ‘the users’, create something, and make the customers want it – an illusion of scarcity. Jobs believes that “by the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”
Also, Apple does not just focus on the features of the product. They always aim to create a multisensory experience even from walking into an Apple Retail Store to the unboxing of the product itself to using it in your daily lives. Since the product itself already exists, they tell you why you should buy theirs instead of others. They highlight the benefits and the user experience, creating an illusion of necessity and increasing demand.
Turn Customers into Evangelists
Apple users are not JUST customers; they are also brand advocates. They are raving fans of the product not just because of its design and features, but also the values and beliefs of the company. Apple focuses on enriching lives, that’s why they have built long-term customer loyalty.
People buy on emotion and Apple knows how to empathise with their customers because they ARE the customers. For example, when the Think Different ad came out, a lot of individuals were able to relate to it because it shows that their product is a reflection of who the users are and these users identify with the brand.
Lastly, Apple values their employees. Just like the Think Different campaign, they believe that employees can make a difference. Ron Johnson, Apple’s former head of retail, said that “The most important component to the Apple experience is that the staff isn’t focused on selling stuff. It’s focused on building relationships and trying to make people’s lives better.” In order for Apple to inspire their customers, they must first inspire their employees. This is why they cultivate trust and autonomy in their team so that they will also deliver to their customers.
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